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Initial Thoughts on the Carolina Panthers 2022 Schedule

Takeaways from the Panthers' schedule release.

The 2022 regular season slate is officially set as all 32 teams unveiled their schedule for the upcoming season. The Panthers will host nine games at Bank of America Stadium, including Thursday night matchup against Atlanta and a Christmas Eve special against the Detroit Lions.

Below are a few things I noticed with this year's schedule.

Home heavy to start the year

This could be a good and a bad thing. Once the Panthers finally start hitting the road regularly, it will be interesting to see how they respond considering that four of the first five games of the season will be in Uptown Charlotte. Most coaches like to get a few road games under their belt early in the year because it creates team chemistry off the field and also gives them a sense of what it's like to play away from the friendly confines of their own field. For a team that's not expected to contend for a playoff spot, this is a good chance to start off the year in a good way. The Panthers were 2-6 at home last season with both wins coming in the first three weeks of the season against the Jets and Saints. 

Ickey Ekwonu will be tested early and often

Finally, the Panthers addressed the left tackle position by drafting NC State's Ikem Ekwonu with the sixth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Many believe he will come in and make an immediate impact on an offensive line that really struggled to hold things together in 2021. Unfortunately for him, he's going to see some of the NFL's best pass rushers right out of the shoot such as Myles Garrett, Cameron Jordan, J.J. Watt, Nick Bosa, and New York Giants rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Very late bye week...AGAIN

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Just like last year, the Panthers will have to wait until Week 13 before they finally get a week off. This is really going to test the depth of this team, however, a late bye week can help some players recover from injuries down the final stretch of the season. I'm sure the Panthers would like to have it a few weeks earlier, but this is the card they've been dealt two years in a row and they have no choice but to make the best of it. 

Post-bye success?

If the Panthers are going to have any chance at pushing for one of the last spots in the playoffs, they'll have a great opportunity to make up some ground following the bye week. The three opponents after the bye are Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. You could make an argument that Carolina should be favored in two of those games and with uncertainty at the quarterback position for the Steelers, it could make it a winnable game. 

Get yourself an early Christmas gift

The Panthers host the Detroit Lions on Christmas Eve. I know what you're thinking. Why would you want to come out on Christmas Eve to watch the Panthers host the Lions? Well, it's the final home game of the regular season, so if you miss out on making it to the game, you'll have to wait until 2023 to see them at home again.

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